CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County School district is implementing random searches for drugs and contraband starting the 2019-2020 school year.
The idea of these searches came about when the district debated on adding metal detectors in school. That discussion led them to form random search teams that will carry out searches throughout the school year.
The teams are composed of former law enforcement officers. The team will select random high schools, then random areas or classrooms within the school and the students in that area will be searched.
For this to comply with Federal and State Law, the searches have to be scientifically random. The district said they created a system to make sure that’s the case.
” The primary model is to randomly select classrooms throughout the high schools, so with each high school we have a list of every classroom and we go through a process of randomly generating a number that coincides with one of the classroom numbers,” Director of Security and Emergency Management, Michael Reidenbach said. ” We have someone from another department who monitors that to provide some integrity to the random selection process. That’s one of the legal requirements we have to meet in order to continue with the searches in order is show that they are completely scientifically random.”
Medal detection and K-9’s can be used to perform the search. The district said according to state law, anyone who steps foot on a school campus has consented to a random search.
Any person who comes into the building is deemed to have consented to a search of their person and property,” Reidenbach said. “State law and case law provides us with the authority to conduct searches if they are considered reasonable, which a random search is as long as we meet those random selection criteria.”
The district does have a policy in place in case a student refuses a search.
“If a student refuses, we will put them through the student code of conduct procedure,” Reidenbach said. “We will try to get the parent involved and try to talk them into complying with the search procedure.”
Although the searches will be conducted during class time, Reidenbach said the team has been trained to minimize classroom disruption as much as possible.
For more information on the new random search policy, click here.